mid-day editorial: Keep turbulence out of communication

Air India stranded 400 fliers at Leh airport, without food or money, from January 26, citing "inclement weather" as the reason. The tourists — mostly trekkers — claimed that the Air India had categorically told them that the pilot of that flight "was not interested in flying". Although the national airline maintained that bad weather caused the delay, it does not change the fact that 400 people from across the country were stranded without any aid or accommodation.

What angered the fliers more was the fact that other airlines were functioning fine, despite the "bad weather". Air India finally arranged three aircrafts to get the passengers to their homes on Wednesday, just hours after this paper reported the plight of those stranded.

While this is a solitary incident, the larger picture needs to be seen and analysed. Transportation facilities often fail commuters in our country. In a city like Mumbai, even a minor technical glitch on the rail tracks or trains ends up affecting thousands of people. The least the authorities concerned can do is to keep communication channels open for the commuters to seek information.

A breakdown or train/flight cancellation can cause a lot of inconvenience to many and, in most such cases, commuters lose patience not because of the breakdown but due to the lack in communication.

All transportation authorities must have a spokesperson who can impart correct information in cases of delays or cancellations and offer credible solutions. Using social media platforms to spread information is also an easy way to help commuters. They should focus on their responsibility and accountability to commuters rather than let tension simmer till it reaches the breaking point. The idea is to fight ire, not with fire, but with honesty.

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